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The Acropolis of Mycenae

Perched atop a mountain slope overlooking the Argolid plain, the Acropolis of Mycenae is an iconic site in mythology and archeology. Famous as the home of Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks against Troy in the Trojan War, and its role in the birth of modern archeology.

Paris, Prince of Troy, traveled to Greece to visit with Agamemnon's brother, Menelaus, the King of Lacedaemon. While visiting, Paris becomes acquainted with Menelaus's beautiful wife, Helen. Shortly afterward, Menelaus is called to Crete on urgent business, and Paris absconds back to Troy with Helen. Enraged, Menelaus goes to his brother Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, and pleads for help getting Helen back. Agamemnon compels the rest of Greece to join him in the expedition; the rest is history (or myth).

Heinrich Schliemann went looking for Troy to prove that the whole story of the Trojan War was indeed history and not a myth. To everyone's surprise, he found the ancient city of Troy; more specifically, he found eight Troys, stacked one on top of the other and going back to the beginning of the Bronze Age.

After excavating at Troy and finding the Bronze Age home of the Trojans, Schliemann went to Greece looking for Homer's Achaeans. The ruins of Mycenae were known to the locals who led Schliemann there. He began digging, without a permit, of course, and quickly found what is now known as Grave Circle A. Within some of the graves were death masks, one of which Schliemann mistakenly thought was the face of Agamemnon. In fact, the face belonged to a man who lived hundreds of years before Agamemnon and was probably a member of the founding family of Mycenae. The people buried in the Grave Circle were from the very beginnings of Mycenaean culture. Excavations at Mycenae continue to this day.

This LEGO model of the Acropolis of Mycenae features many of the iconic elements of the site. The Lions Gate, the Cyclopean Walls, the hidden cistern, and the palace. The palace's interior is a faithful reproduction of a Mycenaean Megaron, the centerpiece of every Mycenaean palace. When entering the Megaron, you first encounter the "porch," an entrance flanked by columns. Beyond that is the anteroom, where visitors would wait to be seen by the King. Beyond that is the Throne Room, with a hearth surrounded by four columns in the center. The floor is a gaudy checkerboard of bright colors, and the back wall features a "figure-of-eight" mural. On both sides of the Megaron are storage areas, one for barrels of wine and one for drinking cups.

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